Smart marketing doesn’t cost money, it makes money.
Is there a direct correlation between integrating social media campaigns in higher education and increased quality enrollment and dollars raised? According to real time success stories and the survey report, “Wondering what works? The changing marketing mix in higher education” from Lipman Hearne and CASE, the answer is a resounding YES. Institutions that have integrated strategic social media campaigns with traditional marketing/advertising efforts have seen a wide margin of positive results.
Lipman Hearne and CASE partnered together to survey 212 CASE member institutions including liberal arts colleges, master’s level universities, research institutions, community colleges and a number of independent primary and secondary schools. The research reveals significant data centered around marketing dollars spent and positive ROI when campaigns include social media strategies.
- Investors in research and planning were more likely to deploy more – and more varied – marketing efforts.
The extra effort seems to be paying off: Of those moderate to heavy investors, 71 percent reported that marketing efforts had a positive impact on the quality of their applicants.
- Print publications aren’t dead
Data reveals that an increase in spending on interactive media (such as web microsites, online tours, student blogs, etc.) does not appear to be coming at the expense of print publications.
- Between FY ’08 and FY ’09, 55 percent of institutions surveyed allocated more to interactive; and 52 percent allocated more to social media
Moderate-to-heavy investors in interactive were more likely than average to report a positive impact on website hits, enrollment yield, quality of applicants, total philanthropic giving and the percentage of alumni who give.
- Those who were putting social media eggs in their basket were not only keeping that basket diversified – they were also bolstering their interactive marketing spending.
The moderate-to-heavy users of social media were actually spending less overall per student on marketing activities. The moderate-to-heavies spent $83 per student, and the light-to-non-users spent $121 per student.
- When comparing institutions that worked with outside firms on specific activities with institutions that went solo, data revealed that having outside partners made a difference.
Institutions that partnered with outside firms for digital advertising saw more positive results on enrollment yield (88 percent compared to 67 percent) … and positive total giving results (76 percent compared to 49 percent).
For the full report, please click here.
It’s important to note that implementing a “strategic social media campaign” does not equal, “Let’s create a Facebook page and Twitter account and recycle our press releases online.” First, ask yourself some key questions: Are your target audiences even on Facebook and Twitter? How are your target audiences using social medial channels? What are the institution’s goals in utilizing social media channels? Is it to improve your image, increase number of enrollments, increase the caliber of applications, increase the number of dollars raised for the annual fund, raise money for a capital campaign? What about other social media channels, like YouTube and LinkedIn?
A strategic social media campaign should include extensive research to determine appropriate strategies to achieve desired outcomes.